Powerful Third Eye Blind focuses on the fans
When 102.1FM's Michelle Rutkowski introduced Third Eye Blind before their show commemorating the 20-year anniversary of their first album at the BMO Harris Pavilion tonight, she summed up the crowd in a sentence.
"Twenty years ago, some of you were in college, some of you were in high school and some of you were being conceived," she said.
The diverse age range – which spanned from Gen X to Gen Z – is a testament to the timelessness of the songs, primarily on the first self-titled album and second release, "Blue."
Third Eye Blind is in the midst of a "Summer Gods Tour" but lead singer Stephan Jenkins made it clear they were deviating from the usual set list for the night. Although this was appealing in theory, most fans were hoping for the front-to-back performance of the first album that was the core of the "Summer Gods" shows.
"We can do whatever we want tonight," Jenkins said.
The band opened with an excerpt from "Weightless," including the line "What do I do with this freedom?" which had deeper meaning on America's birthday. It was a simple but dramatic opening, with a large vintage-looking sign reading "ThirdEyeBlind" (yes, all smushed together), smoke and flashing lights.
The set foreshadowed one of the themes of the show. There were not any Apple computers on stage, nor were there large screens or an aerial act. Instead, the focus was solely on Jenkin's voice and lyrics and the incredible emotional response people have to them.
"This is not a DJ band, this is a guitar rock band and we can do whatever we want," he said.
They followed with a random mix of songs from the powerful and painful "Wounded" on "Blue" to "Company of Strangers" from their 2016 EP, "We Are Drugs."
In the middle of "Shipboard Cook" Jenkins – who showed little to no visible or vocal signs as a man or showman that 20 years had passed – disclosed that he spent the first three years of his life living in Milwaukee.
"This is my spot and I'm really happy to be here," said Jenkins, who formed the band in San Francisco in 1993.
The band went on to perform most of the first album, including the entire "first side" which includes anthems like "Semi-Charmed Life," "Jumper," "Graduate" and "How's it Gonna Be."
They skipped much of the second side, however, but delivered "Motorcycle Drive By" and "God of Wine" as one of the encores. Three more encore songs included "Never Let You Go," "Deep Inside of You" and "Don't Give In."
Another theme of the evening – based on Jenkins' genuine and heartfelt conversations with the audience – revolved around his belief that the band and the audience are one symbiotic entity. He also took a request, possibly two, from the crowd.
"There are no spectators at a Third Eye Blind show, we're all doing our part and we're all in this together," he said. "You are all a part of Third Eye Blind and we are a part of you."
This comment was legit, particularly because the fans sang almost as many lyrics as Jenkins' did. Often he would extend the mic towards the audience and "conduct" the crowd with his hands.
Jenkins also made it clear he was present – attentive and exactly where he wanted to be. "I don't want to miss this moment in Milwaukee," he said. "I don't want to miss any of it."
And he didn't. He was there – conducting us, connecting us. Third Eye Opened.
1. Weightless (partial)
2. Company of Strangers
3. Horror Show
5. Shipboard Cook
6. Losing A Whole Year
8. Semi-Charmed Life
11. How's It Gonna Be?
12. Thanks A Lot
13. Motorcycle Drive By
1. Never Let You Go
2. Deep Inside of You
3, Don't Give In
4. God of Wine
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